Sexuality, depression and body image after breast reconstruction
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the impact of breast reconstruction after mastectomy on sexual function, body image, and depression. METHODS: This cross-sectional, comparative, controlled study was conducted with 90 women between 18 and 65 years of age who had undergone either mastectomy alone (mastectomy group, n=30) or mastectomy combined with breast reconstruction (mastectomy-reconstruction group, n=30) at least one year prior to the study or who had no breast cancer (control group, n=30). Patients were assessed for sexual function, depression, and body image using the validated Brazilian-Portuguese versions of the Female Sexual Function Index, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Examination, respectively. RESULTS: The three groups were homogeneous for age, marital status, body mass index, and education level. The women in the mastectomy group reported significantly worse sexual function, greater depressive symptoms, and lower body image than those in the mastectomy-reconstruction and control groups. In the mastectomy group, the frequency of sexual dysfunction was significantly greater among patients without a marital partner and those with a higher level of education than among patients in the other two groups with the same characteristics. CONCLUSION: Patients who had undergone breast reconstruction after mastectomy reported better sexual function and body image and fewer depressive symptoms than patients who had undergone mastectomy alone. Sexual dysfunction was associated with the absence of a marital partner and a higher level of education and was more frequent in the mastectomy group.